Writing inspired by the SWC creative writing prompt: Write a conversation between two spectators in the crowd at a football match (or other sporting event). Is their team winning? Give the reader a sense of the action on the pitch but maybe the conversation is about more than just the game…

Splatch

by Jonathan Pickering

“Tell me why we came to today’s match?” Henry asked the older man seated beside him.

“Free tickets from the tannery,” Pieter replied gruffly as he scratched his soot-filled beard. “Besides, we haven’t been to a game since we watched The King’s Men get TPD’d by the Dwarven Ironfists.”

“Was that the game where Thadek Thunderfoot kicked that catcher over the cathedral?”

“Yes! He got impaled on the palace spire. It took them weeks to get the blood stains off of the princess’s balcony.”

 

Henry looked down at the pitch where the players were warming up. For the fairies this seemed to involve a display of aerial acrobatics. Their tiny wings trailing dust wherever they flew. The orc players, on the other hand, seemed to be enjoying a game of goblin volleyball. After a few moments of watching, he turned back to Pieter. “But that was our team,” he said, with a slight emphasis on was. “Why are we watching the Fey Runners verses the Orc Blitzers?”

Pieter rolled his eyes. “Because they were free tickets. Besides, I have money on this game.”

“You do? Why? The odds on an orc win were so bad you’ll barely get your money back.”

“That’s why I bet on the fairies.”

“You did? Gods, why?” Henry stared at Pieter in disbelief. The only reason the fairies still had a functioning team was that they bred like… well, fairies.

“Because if they win my 10 shilling bet becomes 100 gold crowns!”

 

Henry shook his head and returned to watching the match. The referee blew the starting whistle and the fairies kicked off. “Look at that fairy fly,” he whispered, slightly awestruck. The female fey in question carried the ball that was bigger than her as she darted through several orc legs.

“And straight into the top corner,” Pieter crowed as the diminutive striker fired a shot past the Blitzer’s keeper. “Um, sorry,” He added somewhat sheepishly as the enormous female orc seated next to him glared, the sun catching on her copper tusk ring. “Are you family of one of the players?”

The orc snorted, covering Pieter in snot before turning back to the game while taking a big bite out of a halfling burger.

“Why are you cheering a goal anyway?” Henry asked. “It’s not like it makes a difference.”

Pieter snorted. “The fairies are much faster than the orcs, they’ll run circles them. Mark my words, this will be the first of many for the flighty little buggers.”

 

A guttural roar from the surrounding orc fans caused Henry to wince. “Did he just sneeze out bits of fairy?” he asked as an orc defender cleared his nostril, sending an iridescent wing landed to land in his lap. He brushed it off distastefully. “Great! Now I have fairy dust in my work clothes. Maggie will kill me!”

“Yeah. Good thing they have plenty of reserves,” Pieter replied, clapping as a substitute fey came on to replace the recently departed player. “Come on you pointy-eared midgets. Throw it left. Left!” He slumped into his seat as another of the Fey Runners exploded into dust and detritus against the impenetrable skull of an orc blocker.

“It’s actually a good game,” Henry said, his voice barely audible over another roar from the orc fans. “3 goals to the fairies and 2 kills to the orcs.” He winced as two orcs crashed together, a poor fairy popping between them like a squashed blackcurrant. “Ah… make that 3 kills. You have no chance of winning that bet.”

“The fairies are still winning, Henry,” Pieter replied sullenly.

“Pieter,” Henry spoke as if he were speaking to a child, “when have you ever seen a match actually reach full time?”

“Well-.”

“Never, that’s when. One team always suffers Total Player Death – and the fairies might be fast, but the orcs are as tough as they are stupid so I know who I’d back in a fight.” Henry winced in pain as the female orc reached across and brought her fist down on his head. “Ah, sorry ma’am,” he said, rubbing his newly bruised skull, “I mean the stupid orc men, of course.”

The orc glared a moment longer before popping a candied gnome into her mouth as she turned back to the game.

 

“Damn it!” Pieter jumped to his feet. “Why? Just why? How stupid does a fairy have to be to fly into an open mouth?” He dejectedly collapsed back into his seat as the Fey Runners brought on their final replacement barely half way through the first half.

“That’s Splatch,” Henry replied as he eagerly awaited the next gruesome death.

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